Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Here are a collection of ghostly tales from the archives of the BBC in Northern Ireland which were filmed over 32 years ago. They make interesting viewing in a time when tales of the paranormal made little real impact with television. (Video and text: Copyright BBC)

Springhill House in Moneymore is a National Trust property, complete with a haunted history.
In the 1800s George Lennox Conyngham was suffering a massive bout of depression.
He fetched a gun from the gun room in the stately home and went to the blue room.
His wife, Olivia, realised his intention and ran to the room to prevent his drastic action, but was too late, reaching the door as a single shot rang out.
Her ghost is said to repeat that desperate dash and can be seen outside the blue room with her hands raised in horror at the discovery of her husband's suicide.
In this piece of film, broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland's Scene Around Six in 1979 the haunted history of the 'Anxious Mother' also resident in the mansion is explained by Teddy Butler the administrator of the house.

Every city has its ghosts and Belfast is no different, but some are more famous than others.
There is a wealth of folklore in the city relating to the supernatural, and you whether believe the tales or not, they all make great stories.
Some can be quite area specific, so you could be forgiven if, like Belfast native Wendy Austin in the attached piece of BBC archive media, the name Galloper Thompson is new to you.
Mary Rooney tells Wendy that she is an ancestor of the ghost and explains how she found a ghost in the family tree.
Galloper trots through the imagination of people in north Belfast, an apparition on a ghostly steed.
In Belfast legend the story begins with Gordon Thompson telling his friends that if he did not find a place in heaven then he would return and haunt Jennymount, off York Road.
In the Victorian period the tale would involve the ghost borrowing horses from stables at night and leaving them back by the dawn, filthy and tired, to the bemusement of their owners.
In some versions of the story he is headless, after being decapitated in an accident in Jennymount Mill, which he owned, while fixing one of the weaving machines.
The modern era has seen the horse borrowing side of the tale die off, but generations of children in the area were warned that the galloper would get them if they were home late.
Now the Galloper is a less scary piece of folklore, with even a local sandwich shop being named in his honour.

Houses are where most reports of hauntings come from, but not all.
Tales of the supernatural can also be centred on places of work with the staff at Tyrone Crystal reporting a mysterious apparition called Isaac on the factory floor 30 years ago.
One night a worker said that he could see a figure that called out to him in the factory.
"I am Isaac. I am Isaac," he shouted before disappearing through a wall.
Initially he stayed silent but the story got round and management heard more and more stories about the mysterious apparition.
Soon other workers were reporting a shadowy figure walking about other parts of the site.
"I sensed there was something up there and I came to the one conclusion," one worker told a BBC reporter in 1979.
"That the place was haunted."
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